Instagram Followers and Engagements: Quality or Quantity?

There are some common misconceptions about Instagram followers and engagements, and it’s time we address them. We all want our brands to see success on social media, but often, that gets equated to having the most followers and engagements rather than the right followers and engagements. Many tend to look at it as quantity over quantity, but I’m here to challenge that. I believe it should always be quality over quantity (just like everything else you do). And I have a couple of questions that might help you see where I’m coming from.

What’s better: 10,000 followers or 100 followers who will actually engage with your brand and buy from you?

I think anyone would say that the second option is clearly better. But sadly, people get so excited about the possibility of having 10,000 followers that they don’t even consider that second option.

Another question. What’s better: posting 10 really great pieces of content in a month, or posting mediocre content multiple times per day, resulting in upwards of 50 pieces of content a month?

Many people think that posting a ton will help keep them in front of their audience more, which will then lead to them purchasing more. However, I’d love to meet the content creator who can crank out 50 really incredible Instagram posts without a single one flopping. It just doesn’t happen. When you’re posting that often, you’re sacrificing great content. You don’t want your followers to become bored of seeing your content; you want them to stop each time they see a post of yours and feel something about it – maybe you want them to feel understood, happy, safe, educated, or led… or maybe you just want to make them laugh. Your content should have a purpose, and your purpose should never be just to make more noise.

Your audience’s newsfeeds are noisy places. Cut through the noise, don’t add to it.

The problem

Regardless of what industry you’re in, you’ve probably been a little jealous of a competitor with tons of followers before. There are always those accounts in every industry (though some more than others) that make it look like you need thousands of followers to be taken seriously, to be seen as a good brand, and to make sales. But realistically, if you have only a few hundred followers that are actually engaging with your brand and buying from you, then you’re doing it right.

You’re not in the business of being popular; you’re in the business of making sales.

Think of it this way: would you rather have 1,000 followers who aren’t engaged, who likely have never even heard of your business before, and who won’t ever buy from you… just because having them makes you look more popular? Or would you rather have 500 followers who are engaged, who followed you for a reason, and who are very likely to buy from you?

To illustrate this point further, I dove into some Instagram analytics. (Side note: if you want to do this yourself, Schedugram has an analytics feature that makes this really easy. If you’re not already using it, get on it!)

One of our clients in the eCommerce industry has 1,143 followers. A competitor of theirs has 6,300 followers. You would imagine that an account with 5,000 more followers would crush us when it comes to engagements, right? Well, I did some math, and it turns out that’s not always true. The competitor posted 75 times in August and had an average of 48 likes per post. Our client posted 10 times that same month and had an average of 50 likes per post.

This shows us two things:

  1. Having more followers doesn’t always mean more engagements
  2. Posting more doesn’t always mean more engagements

So now what?

It’s not easy.

The magic number for how many times per month you should post and how many followers you should shoot for depends on so many things. It’s not just what looks better and gets in front of more accounts on Instagram. Your audience may be very active and engaging, so you might be able to get away with posting more often than most. The only way to find this out is by testing. Test out posting 5 times per month, then 8, then 10, then 12, and see what’s working the best for your brand. How many engagements are you averaging when you only post 5 times versus 12 times? Use this data to help you decide what’s best for your brand instead of assuming that more posts will always mean more engagements. 

You don’t need a ton of followers and a ton of posts in order to do well on Instagram. What do you need? Quality content.

I hope this has convinced you that you don’t need to scramble to get tons of content out there or try to find the latest hack to get 100 Instagram followers a day. It’s all about being real, and growing your account (and your business) organically. If you’re a little lost on how to do this, my team and I would love to help. Reach out to us here and we’ll get started.